ULA originally planned to launch the national security mission Wednesday, clearing the way for SpaceX to launch a previously flown Falcon 9 rocket from nearby complex 40 on Friday evening to place Argentina's SAOCOM 1B remote-sensing satellite into a polar orbit. "We will be conducting a thorough engineering investigation to determine root cause and determine the path forward".
Be that as it may, ULA has need with plans to launch an incredible Delta 4 Heavy, one of only five left in the organization's inventory, early Saturday to help a National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite into orbit.
Once the Delta IV Large launches, SpaceX will be on deck.
After receiving clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to resume operational launches, Rocket Lab has announced that Electron's fourteenth flight -nicknamed "I Can't Believe It's Not Optical" - will be a dedicated mission for Capella Space, a California-based company that utilizes Earth observation data to provide information services.More news: At Least 14 Dead After Hurricane Laura Batters Southern US
Four previous Delta 4-Heavy launches in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2016 followed similar trajectories after taking off from Cape Canaveral, each carrying a classified cargo for the National Reconnaissance Office. It's one of the most powerful rockets in the world, though shy of the power packed into SpaceX's Falcon Heavy.
ULA said the "required recycle time prior to the next launch attempt is seven days minimum".
With its center engine throttled down to conserve fuel, the Delta 4-Heavy will surpass the speed of sound about a minute and 18 seconds later and soar toward the east over the Atlantic Ocean. Just two seconds later, the engines shut down and the announcer was greeted by what sounded like chirping crickets as he called out "lift-off".
SpaceX is next in line from the Space Coast with two launches scheduled once the spy satellite heads into space.More news: Manchester United interested in signing Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek
At that time, the mission will enter an NRO-ordered news blackout. In almost 20 years, it is the first time the spaceport has seen many launches in the same week.
The rocket's payload is NROL-44, and like all NRO objectives, its function is masked in secrecy.